Poll: Govt. dysfunction country's top problem
October 9th, 2013
09:03 AM ET
5 years ago

Poll: Govt. dysfunction country's top problem

Washington (CNN) - More Americans name government dysfunction rather than anything else as the top problem facing the country right now, according to a new national poll.

One-third of those questioned in a Gallup survey released Wednesday say that dissatisfaction with government and elected representatives is the top issue ailing the nation. That's the highest percentage for government dysfunction in the nearly 75 years Gallup has been asking the question.

The poll, conducted Thursday through Sunday, comes with the parts of the federal government shut down due to an impasse between congressional Republicans and the White House and Democrats over the budget and the new health care law. It also comes as the country faces a deadline next week to extend the debt ceiling and prevent a government default.

The 33% who cite government dysfunction as the nation's top problem is double the 16% who said the same thing in Gallup polling last month.

"This almost certainly reflects the current upheaval in Washington and party leaders' inability to agree on a way to fund the government or avoid a possible government default," says a release by Gallup.

Nineteen percent of those questioned say the economy is the country's top problem, with 12% saying unemployment, another 12% listing the deficit, and an equal amount saying health care. This is the first time since 2008 that an economic issue was not at the top of Gallup's list.

The poll also points to a slight partisan divide.

"Democrats (36%) and independents (33%) are somewhat more likely than Republicans (23%) to mention dysfunctional government as the most important problem facing the country, perhaps reflecting partisans' differing views about the role and importance of government," says Gallup.

The Gallup poll was conducted October 3-6, with 1,028 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus four percentage points.

- CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this story.

Filed under: Government Shutdown • Polls
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. SXZ2

    The problem is a willful minority of extremists who, backed by the deep pockets of billionaires like the Koch brothers and others who want to increase their wealth, are trying to dismantle government by dispensing with workers benefits and environmental regulations. One of the great mysteries of our times will be how Fox viewers were ever convinced to go along with this agenda that ultimately is slitting their own throat and will be shown to have been raw appeals to the worst racist homophobic xenophobic tendencies of the American people.

    October 9, 2013 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  2. DerekG

    This should not be a suprise to anyone, politicians are simply a reflection of the population as a whole. Just look at the posts most of you write, ranting nonsense and screaming for more importance about your issue/party. If you want more cooperation/discussion out of D.C. Start being civil with someone you disagree with, until then this problem only gets worse.

    October 9, 2013 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  3. michael

    I think the way the news is reported has a lot to do with the perception of dysfunction in Washington, and the dysfunction in the minds of the American people! Lets look at the shutdown, instead standing on the side of truth in the beginning, we here talking points from the culprits responsible for the shutdown! Repuglicans refuse to send a clean bill without either trying to defund obamacare or a Christmas wish list! What if democrats say pass gun control, immigration, the president jobs bill without trying to defund obamacare, then we'll avert a shutdown! For, the news network to play football with this issue is the height of irresponsibility! Now, the initiators of this evil plot might get a ransom! According to the New York Times, Conservatives planned this shutdown and this strategy right after President Obama was re-elected! CNN, I've heard your silence but no reporting on this obvious fact!

    October 9, 2013 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  4. VotingBLKAmerican (yes were alive)

    Indeed the American people need to reid ourselfs of these totally DISFUNCTIONAL people in our Federal government. We (the American people) soooooooooooooo deserve better and we should DEMAND it.

    October 9, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  5. steve:

    The voters got just what they asked for..... gridlock.

    October 9, 2013 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  6. Thomas

    Ted Cruz , do you work for China ?

    October 9, 2013 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  7. The Real Tom Paine

    -Hector Slagg

    With nobody driving the train what do you expect. A Train wreck.
    Maybe Gunderson knows it has to do with choo-choo: Gunderson/Hector/Ray E. only pawn in game of life.

    October 9, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
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